Bart Chilton (born May 1, 1960) is a commissioner on the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). He is the author of the Agency's best-selling investment fraud book, Ponzimonium: How Scam Artists Are Ripping Off America. Chilton has been a vocal supporter of position limits in commodities markets. He has exposed manipulation practices in commodities markets and gone on record as wanting to prosecute violations of law, which he believes have taken place in the silver market.
Chilton was born in Wilmington, Delaware, and grew up in Ogden Dunes, Indiana. His father and both grandfathers were engineers. His father, a mechanical engineer, patented a way to create a self-standing artificial Christmas tree. DuPont's Thomas H. Chilton Laboratory in Wilmington, Delaware, is named for his grandfather, a chemical engineer who worked there. Jess M. Bartholomew, Chilton's namesake, was an electrical engineer at the Joy Manufacturing Company in Michigan City, Indiana. His great-great-grandfather was William Parish Chilton and his great-great-uncle was Thomas Chilton, who both served in government.
After high school, Chilton worked at a steel mill for a year, arguing later that the experience convinced him that someone had to look out for "the little guy". He began attending Purdue University in 1979, majoring in political science and communications but left one semester before graduating to work on Democratic Party 1984 political campaigns.
Chilton worked in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1985 to 1995, where he was legislative director for three members of Congress and was the executive director of the Congressional Rural Caucus. He later worked in the executive branch during the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, where he became the deputy chief of staff to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman and served as a liaison to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. From 2001 to 2005, he was a senior advisor to Senator Tom Daschle. In 2005, he went to the Farm Credit Administration, where he was an executive assistant to the board, afterward becoming chief of staff and vice president for governmental relations at the National Farmers Union, representing family farmers.
Chilton has been one of the five CFTC commissioners since August 2007, when he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate after having been nominated by President Bush. He was the chairman of the CFTC’s Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee. He was re-nominated by President Barack Obama and re-confirmed by the Senate in 2009. In his first official remarks as a new commissioner on the CFTC, Chilton made clear his support for market regulation and has, since joining the CFTC, worked for the implementation of position limits.
In early 2010, he was contacted by Andrew Maguire, who detailed fraud taking place in the precious metals markets. Chilton had one of the senior investigators from the CFTC's enforcement division contact Maguire. Maguire shared information in an hour-long telephone interview and detailed e-mails. Maguire accurately predicted a manipulative event in the silver futures market, notifying Chilton and the investigator two days in advance and sending additional e-mails while it was taking place, pointing out important data.
Chilton believes violations of law have taken place in the silver futures market and has said he wants to see prosecutions. Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee board member Adrian Douglas has called Chilton "the modern-day equivalent of Eliot Ness". In late 2010, he revealed that a single trader controlled 40 percent of the silver market, although in compliance with the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation, the CFTC has proposed a position limit of ten percent.
- Bart Chilton biography CFTC official website. Retrieved May 7, 2011
- CFTC's Energy-Industry Gadfly Gets His Way" The Wall Street Journal (June 12, 2010). Retrieved May 8, 2011
- "The Thomas H. Chilton Award" Educational Resources for Particle Technology. Retrieved May 8, 2011
- George E. Holbrook, Biography of Thomas Hamilton Chilton Memorial Tributes: National Academy of Engineering, Vol. 1, pp. 19-25 (1979). The National Academies Press. Retrieved May 9, 2011
- Bart Chilton, Remarks at the CFTC hearing to examine trading on regulated exchanges and exempt commercial markets CFTC website. "Dark Markets" (September 18, 2007). Retrieved May 9, 2011
- Josh Garrett, "Position Limits Proponent Chilton Advocates from Inside of CFTC" heatingoil.com (June 14, 2010). Retrieved May 9, 2011
- Eric King, Interview with Andrew Maguire and GATA board member Adrian Douglas King World News (March 30, 2010). Retrieved May 6, 2011
- E-mail exchange between Maguire and the CFTC King World News (January 26, 2010 - February 9, 2010). Retrieved May 4, 2011
- Asjylyn Loder and Pham-Duy Nguyen, "Silver Subject to Price Manipulation, Chilton Says" Bloomberg (October 26, 2010). Retrieved May 7, 2011
- William D. Cohan, "A Conspiracy With a Silver Lining" The New York Times (March 2, 2011). Retrieved May 7, 2011
- Tyler Durden, "CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton Reveals "One Trader" Controls 40% Of Silver Market, As Silver Holdings Of SLV Hit All Time Record" Zero Hedge (December 11, 2010). Retrieved May 7, 2011
- Bart Chilton, "Statement Regarding H.R. 1573" CFTC website. (April 15, 2011). Retrieved May 9, 2011
- "The Cadwalader Cabinet".
- Complete list of Chilton's speeches as CFTC commissioner Commodity Futures Trading Commission, official website. Retrieved May 9, 2011